Republican-Led Committee Disproves Benghazi Conspiracy Theories

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After a two-year investigation into the 2012 attack on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, a Republican-led committee has disproven many of the conspiracy theories surrounding the event.

The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee released a report that said the CIA and the military responded appropriately to the attack. It also absolved Obama administration appointees of alleged wrongdoing.

Republicans have consistently criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in particular, coming under fire in hearings. It was alleged that the government ordered a CIA response team to stand down, botched a military rescue, and even that the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria. While many of the details of the Benghazi attacks remain unknown, the committee did find that these accusations were untrue.

“We spent thousands of hours asking questions, poring over documents, reviewing intelligence assessments, reading cables and emails, and held a total of 20 committee events and hearings,” Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said in a joint statement.

The Benghazi attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans: U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. Libyan extremist Ahmed Abu Khatalla was captured in Libya and taken to the United States, where he will face trial on murder charges.

While it absolved the administration of the more alarming accusations, the report did find that the State Department facility where Stevens and Smith were killed was not well protected. It also said that State Department security agents were aware they could not defend it from a well-armed attack.

“It’s my hope that this report will put to rest many of the questions that have been asked and answered yet again,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the Benghazi select committee, “and that the Benghazi Select Committee will accept these findings and instead focus its attention on the State Department’s progress in securing our facilities around the world and standing up our fast response capabilities.”

Of course, some Republicans are still unhappy with the report, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on CNN’s State of the Union that the committee did a “lousy job.” He called the conclusions of the report “a bunch of garbage” and said, “This report puts all the blame on the State Department and absolves the intelligence community.”

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